Creating a culture of learning

I had a sad moment when the students in my upper-level Elizabeth literature class whom I had taught in Greek & Roman literature last spring all failed to spot an allusion to Catullus’ famous kissing poem (“Vivamus, mea Lesbia, atque Amemus”). On a lark, I asked students  whether they would like to be asked questions in one class that drew on material they (should have) learned in other English classes (these are mostly majors). I thought the idea would be greeted with horror, but most seemed quite positive, saying that this would ensure they “actually learned something” (Gosh, doesn’t that make me feel good!).  Many commented that they forget quickly what they learn in one class unless they’re using it directly in another. Actually implementing cross-curricular responsibility like this is feasible, but it requires technology if it isn’t to prove unwieldy.  I’ll have to think more about it.

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